Volunteer Stories

A Volunteer’s Perspective on Second Story Treasures – “The Store”

Volunteering at Second Story Treasures has made a tremendous difference in my life. I feel a real connection to the community and I've gained immeasurably from the support I've received from my fellow volunteers. We are a team - and it feels like "family". Our thrift store relies on members of the community to bring us "good stuff" that they no longer use. Our team sorts-tests-steams-packages-polishes and hangs the donations for sale in our store. Through this effort we are able to provide quality items at low cost to those who are on limited budgets. As well, we often have unique items that are either collectibles or conversation pieces. We have been known to harbour unique "treasures". The proceeds of our efforts fund Langley Hospice. If you have thought about volunteering in the community, check us out. Our operation is very organized and therefore, very productive. We complete every shift with a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction - well, almost every one!!! Being part of...

The Perfect Fit

After the passing of my husband Pat, I began seeking supportive services through Langley Hospice Society. After a few sessions, a volunteer opportunity at the Second Story Thrift Store was recommended to me as a way to assist me during my grieving and to help me out of my “solitary confinement”. I heard of the wonderful people and vision that the store entailed and the important sense of contribution volunteering provides. Although I was hesitant at first, as this would be my first experience as a volunteer, I conjured up the courage to fill out an application. Soon after the interview process, I found myself working and laughing amongst the warm-hearted individuals at Second Story Treasures. The brilliant cohesion and genuine care demonstrated amid the volunteers and staff provided me with the normality I was seeking and helped me build my confidence on a daily basis. Initially given the task of repairing and cleaning jewellery, I received a quick “promotion” to pricing and...

Transitions

Birth or death? There was a birth certainly we had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death but had thought they were different. T.S. Eliot, Journey of the Magi When I was in my childbearing years and having my own babies I became fascinated by the strength, both physically and emotionally, that mothers inherently possess. During my work as a doula (birth assistant) I became aware that some of my fascination was in part due to the miracle of birth, the transition from spirit, or non-existent person, to a person who is now on the path of mortality. Perhaps I was drawn to be a hospice volunteer due to a similar fascination. The journey that a person goes through from an existing individual to spirit or non-existence. Birth and death tie mankind to the unknown. I have had the opportunity to support women and families in their choices during labour and to be included in their celebration of birth. For that I am extremely grateful. I hope that I can be of some comfort to those...

Why Do You Volunteer At The Hospice Residence? A Personal Perspective

When I began volunteering at the Residence about 1½ years ago, I very quickly became aware of how often the question is asked: “Why do you do this type of work?”  Well, the answer is simple, isn't it? Actually no, it is not that simple; at least I believe it is not easy for most. Initially I was a little flummoxed for an appropriate and honest answer to the question. Simply to say something along the lines of “I like to help and talk to people” or to respond in some similar fashion seemed a superficial answer that lacked substance and did not give a comprehensive explanation. I pondered the question, and still do so to some extent, because our lives are an evolving sequences of experiences, observations and events that over time influence and shape and may change our perspectives, thoughts and opinions. As anyone knows who is involved with hospice work of any type, it is one of the greater privileges in life to become a confidante to someone who is experiencing end-of-life or with an...

A Spiritual Journey of the Heart and Soul

“The source of love is deep in us and we can help others realize a lot of happiness. One word, one action, one thought can reduce another person’s suffering and bring that person joy.” ― Thích Nhất Hạnh If you are familiar with the Langley Hospice Society, there is a strong possibility that you have also heard of Thornton Smith. As one of our esteemed volunteers of the past fifteen years, Thornton has participated in and supported a variety of services and events. From serving as a past treasurer of our Board of Directors, to providing support in palliative and bereavement settings, and more recently, participating in the creation of our beautiful children’s garden – it is not exaggerating to state that Thornton has done it all. Thornton attributes his interest in volunteering to when he first began to lend his support at a residential home for the physically disabled in England. After he moved to Canada and created a lovely family, Thornton began to serve on our Board of Directors...

The Circle of Life

Not too long ago I had a wonderful experience that reminded me of how important nature is to me and many others. I was on my regular walk in the middle of the city, enjoying the songs and flights of finches and swallows in the unusually peaceful confines of a nature trail by the Langley airport. It’s a surprising oasis, being as it lies between two busy roads, the Fraser Hwy. and 56th Avenue; but it offers me a chance to get some exercise and thinking time. As I sauntered along the trail, I glanced up to my right to a small rise above the track and saw two beautiful deer standing there watching me; both young – one doe and one buck. I continued to walk slowly along the trail until they were within 25 to 30 feet of me; then I stood perfectly still. For at least 30 seconds, I felt them consider me; communing with me through large luminous eyes. I was awestruck. When they turned and walked calmly away, I knew somehow they had accepted me. I had been given a gift; one that filled me with...

My Hospice Volunteering Experience

In 2002, I spent a month with my sister in a Duluth, Georgia Hospice. Gail was diagnosed with sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (rare, degenerative brain disorder) in mid-July and died in September. We shared a room growing up, as young women before we married and shared a room on her final journey. We had gone full circle. The Hospice was a warm caring environment for all family members and patients. It was this experience with my sister that eventually led me to look into what I could do for hospice here in Langley. I became a Hospice volunteer almost 6.5 years ago; I started off by helping with the newsletter. Then when a sewing group started, I was asked to join, although at the time I was not a sewer. I took sewing lessons and then quilting lessons. We make quilts for children going through the grieving process. When a child goes through bereavement support, either individually or in a group, he/she receives a comfort quilt at the end of their program. I also help out with...

Langley Hospice Residence: One Volunteer’s Experience

Upon the table a small light was on and gently flickering as I entered the building. I approached the table to read the writing upon the card in front of the light. As I came closer I could see a young woman standing in the hall, her body pressed against the rail. She was trembling, her hands pressed to her mouth, with tears falling upon her cheeks. I moved towards her, my purse still over my shoulder, and extended my arms to her. We both took a step towards each other and my arms encircled her. No words were spoken as she put her head upon my shoulder and I held her close. Time passed, her tears subsided and she stood back. She was composed as she spoke only two words, “thank you”. So what building is this? What do the light and the card represent? Why was this young woman crying? I have entered a Hospice Residence. In direct line with the outside door is a table where the small light is encased within a stained glass stand. This light is turned on for twenty-four hours to honour...

Volunteering at the Langley Hospice Society

Recently, I worked for several years in retail; I was good at it, but I found that the work had little meaning for me. I wanted my efforts to be purposeful. Before I had my kids, I worked as an administrative assistant for a non-profit organization. There I felt needed, an equal part of a team working to help others. I wanted to do so again. I went back to school to update my skills and, needing current office experience, I started looking for volunteer opportunities. I found just what I needed; the Langley Hospice Society, a non-profit organization that uses volunteers in its office. I was immediately impressed by the inclusiveness shown on the volunteer application form as it made clear that any applicant from any background would be considered. My kind of place! So here I am, again a part of a team, warmly welcomed by people who share my values, working together to help those who need us. Heather Frenette Supportive Programs Centre Office Volunteer

A Change in Perspective

“What do you want? I don’t want any more people poking at me. Go away!”  The words stung, but I managed to say in a calm, quiet voice, “I’m not a nurse. I’m a volunteer and I just wanted to see if there was anything I could do for you.”  “Yeah! You can *$#!’ well leave me alone!” Respecting the patient’s wishes as I was taught I turned and walked away, but I was shocked by her harsh response and even a little angry. Since beginning my hospice work five years ago, this was one of the few times I’d truly been upset by a patient. Intellectually, I knew her mood was understandable - she was dying of cancer - but emotionally I still found it hard to deal with. All I wanted to do was help. The nurses told me not to concern myself – she was like that with everyone, but I decided to try again later anyway; maybe after lunch she’d be feeling better. Unfortunately, I received the same blast of invective then. I’d experienced anger from patients before. There are always a few who are...

SECOND STORY TREASURES THRIFT STORE

Store hours:

Tuesday - Saturday, 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Donations of gently used clothing and household items may be dropped off:

Monday, 9:00 am - 3:30 pm
Tuesday - Friday, 9:00 am - 4:30 pm
Saturday, 9:00 am - 3:30 pm

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